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ND earns gold rating in sustainability

| Thursday, January 15, 2015

sustainability-graphic-WEBKeri O'Mara
Increasing its rating from the past three years, the University of Notre Dame was recently awarded a gold rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for exceptional sustainability achievements.

“We are extremely proud of the gold rating the University received in the AASHE STARS [Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System] program,” director of sustainability Linda Kurtos said. “The STARS rating system is unique from other systems because it takes into account sustainability aspects from all across the university, not just one or two areas.”

Looking at a wide variety of aspects, the rating is indicative of an overall extremely positive change in the environmental awareness of the University, as well as an execution of the goals set forth by Notre Dame’s sustainability strategy, Kurtos said.

“Our achievement of a STARS gold rating is a result of a campus-wide commitment to sustainability,” executive vice president John Affleck-Graves said in a press release. “This recognition supports our ongoing efforts over the last few years and reinforces our continued commitment to sustainability.”

“From the construction of more LEED-certified buildings to expanding the number of sustainability-related courses and research, the promotion from Silver to Gold is a testament to how much the entire University is doing to advance sustainability,” Kurtos said.

Students were excited by the news, particularly those involved in the campus environmental club, GreeND.

“Overall, this is positive news, but we still challenge the University to take more ambitious action on sustainability and on climate change in particular. As Pope Francis is making clear with his upcoming encyclical on climate change, this issue is a moral one and Notre Dame can do more,” GreeND leader and senior Garrett Blad said.

The improvement from just three years ago is major, but the club and the We Are 9 campaign hope to see more change in the future.

“That’s why GreeND is challenging the University to divest the endowment from fossil fuel corporations with the We Are 9 campaign. Notre Dame cannot be a truly sustainable campus if it continues to profit from corporations driving climate change,” Blad said.

The new rating puts Notre Dame in the top 13 percent of 300 schools reporting data, and it is the highest rated school in Indiana.

“We’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished so far and are looking forward to making even greater strides in the future,” Kurtos said.

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About Rachel O'Grady

Rachel O'Grady is a senior Political Science major living in Ryan Hall and is currently serving as an Assistant Managing Editor. Hailing from Chicago (actual Chicago, not the suburbs) she's been a Cubs fan since birth.

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